Why I Am Posting These Recipes

I believe that it is healthier for an individual and for the planet to reduce the consumption of animal products in the human diet. However, I love to eat all kinds of delicious food, and find it really, really difficult to go totally vegetarian. Also, my family protests if I serve too many vegetarian meals in a row. So I am committed to making an effort to move towards a vegetarian diet without wholly doing so. I will post recipes several times a week that represent my philosophy of eating well, eating healthy, eating local. Most recipes will be easy to prepare, as I have a busy life. So I expect my followers to be people who love to cook and eat well, want to try to help the planet through their eating (by eating local foods and trying to reduce the use of meat in our diets), and have many other things to do each day besides cook.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Curried Coconut Lentils

A favorite restaurant used to have something similar to this on their menu.  I loved it, and would order it each time I went there.  Unfortunately, they discontinued offering it.  I thought I would try to recreate it from my tasting memory.  My version is not exactly the same as the restaurant's, but it is delicious and creamy.  This can be on the table in about an hour, with only about 10 minutes of prep time. And it uses things that store well in a pantry, so perfect for extended stay-at-home periods! This is a small batch to serve 2, but obviously it is easy to double or triple it for a larger batch. I served it last night with a hearty salad. I made bread to go with it, but we didn't feel like we needed anything other than the salad and lentils, so we didn't actually eat the bread! A simple, wholesome and satisfying meal!

1 small onion, diced
olive oil
½ cup black lentils, rinsed
1 cup vegetable broth
1 ½ cups canned coconut milk
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp fresh ginger, chopped
dash of tumeric
1 tsp sriracha sauce
¼ cup shredded coconut flakes (unsweetened)
salt to taste

Saute diced onion in olive oil in saucepan over medium heat, stirring until onion is translucent.  Add lentils, vegetable broth, and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer.  Stir in cumin, coriander, ginger, tumeric, sriracha sauce and shredded coconut flakes. Cook, covered, for 45 minutes.  Uncover and add salt to taste. Continue simmering until lentils are tender and sauce is thick, not too soupy (about 15 minutes). Serves 2.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Hummus with Ume Plum Vinegar

For years, I have made hummus pretty much the same way, although I normally don't measure most of the ingredients, so it turns out a little differently each time.  A couple of weeks ago, I made a batch of hummus with the usual line-up of ingredients, then I tasted it to see what I might need to add more of.  It was missing oomph. I tweaked it, but it still lacked oomph.  So I got the brilliant idea of adding a little Ume plum vinegar.  First I put some hummus on a spoon and poured a little Ume plum vinegar into the spoon and mashed it together with my finger.  I tasted it and it was FANTASTIC! It had OOMPH! So I added some vinegar to the batch and people gobbled it up.  I gobbled it up.  It had that hard-to-identify SOMETHING that made you want to eat more.  So yesterday I made another batch, and this time measured everything so I could share it with you. This recipe makes enough for a small bowl of hummus that you can put out for hors d'oeuvres with raw vegetables and pita chips, crackers or bread for people to dip. Hummus is also great as a spread on sandwiches with raw veggies such as lettuce, tomato, peppers and cucumbers!

1 small garlic clove
1 cup chickpeas
3 TBS water
2 TBS tahini
1 TBS olive oil
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp Aleppo pepper
2 TBS ume plum vinegar
1 TBS lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
1/2 tsp cumin
Kalamata olives as garnish (optional)

Chop garlic clove in food processor.  Add chickpeas and process.  Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Garnish with chopped kalamata olives if desired.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Roasted Green Beans with Spicy Rose Harissa Sauce

I adapted this recipe from one developed by Yotam Ottolenghi for roasted carrots.  I made his recipe but had sauce leftover, so the next day I decided to toss it with some green beans and see how it tasted.  It was delicious and a bit spicy! This is an easy way to put an exciting and different vegetable side dish on the table. You most likely do not have rose harissa in your pantry, but it is worth buying a jar for this recipe.  

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 TBS rose harissa (note that rose harissa is different from plain harissa; look for it online)
  • 1 TBS unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pomegranate molasses
  • Bunch of green beans, trimmed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  If you have a convection roast feature on your oven, you can use that function here.  Combine all ingredients except green beans and pomegranate molasses in bowl.  Add green beans and toss well to coat.  Spread green beans on baking sheet. Roast for about 10 minutes. Drizzle a little pomegranate molasses over beans to serve.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Baked Mushroom Farro "Risotto"

One of the challenges to transitioning to a plant-based diet is that some people do not feel satisfied after a vegetarian meal.  Here is a dish that will satisfy a hungry appetite, as farro is filling and mushrooms provide a meaty flavor and substance in the absence of meat. I served this with lentils and roasted carrots for a well-rounded meal.

Farro is an ancient whole wheat grain that has a chewy, nubby texture and is hearty, filling and nutritious.  It is unrefined and needs to be soaked before cooking.  It is high in fiber,  vitamin B3, magnesium and zinc. I wanted to make a risotto-sort of dish incorporating mushrooms and farro, but I wanted to bake it because baking is easier than tending to a pan on the stove. The result follows.  I served it to dinner guests who said they liked it and would make it themselves, so it is worth trying yourself!  Don’t be intimidated by the lengthy baking time.  You can do other things while it is in the oven! I used a combination of shiitake and cremini mushrooms in my dish, but any kind of mushrooms will be delicious in this.  

1 cup farro, rinsed then soaked in water for at least 3 hours (overnight better)
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 small or medium onion,diced
4 Tbs butter
3 garlic cloves, pressed
8 cups vegetable broth, heated
1/2 cup white wine
Pinch of saffron
3/4 tsp salt
Sprig of fresh thyme
1/2 cup freshly grated reggiano parmigiano

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Melt butter in large saucepan over medium low heat. Sauté onions and salt until translucent. Add mushrooms, garlic and saffron, stir and cook for about 3 minutes, then stir in drained farro, coating all kernels with butter. Strip leaves off of thyme sprig into the pan and stir. Add wine, raise heat to medium and stir continuously until liquid is mostly absorbed. Transfer farro mixture to oiled 9”x13” baking pan. Pour vegetable broth over farro and spread mixtue evenly. Bake for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until liquid is absorbed (check it periodically). If it is still soupy, cook longer. When it seems almost finished, stir in parmigiano, spread evenly and bake a few more minutes. Sprinkle additional parmigiano over the top after you remove it from the oven.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Spicy Potato Soup (vegan)

I enjoy learning about unusual ingredients that can transform recipes from bland to scrumptious.  Sometimes it takes using the ingredient in a variety of recipes to get a feel for how to use it spontaneously.  The first time I used rose harissa was a little over a year ago, and the first thing I made with it was absolutely delicious.  I tried another dish that again had people asking for the recipe, so I realized this was a wonderful ingredient to have on hand.  I have found that adding a bit of rose harissa—which I had to buy online, as I could not find it in a store—can really transform a dish with its fantastic, complex flavor. Recently, I was experimenting with the development of a recipe for a rutabaga soup.  When I tasted it, I thought it was terrible!  I decided to see if the addition of some rose harissa might improve it a bit.  I found that it transformed the soup from something I absolutely did not want to eat into a soup that I could not get enough of!  So today I thought I would try to make a potato soup with rose harissa that was delicious.  And I succeeded!  This soup is easy to make in about 45 minutes, including time to prep vegetables.

2 TBS olive oil
1 small/medium yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, sliced
4 small/medium Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
1 quart vegetable broth
2 TBS rose harissa (note that rose harissa is different than harissa)
Salt to taste
Fresh lemon juice (optional)
Chopped cilantro or parsley to garnish

Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat.  Saute onion in olive oil until translucent.  Add celery, then carrots, and saute for about a minute, stirring.  Add broth and potatoes.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.  Cover pot and cook until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.  Puree with hand blender.  Add 2 TBS rose harissa.  Blend thoroughly. Add salt to taste. After serving soup, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice into each bowl and stir (optional), then garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley. Serves 2-4, depending upon how hungry you are!